Why Did The Pheasant Cross The Road?

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Yesterday evening we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly efficient service in the perfect company of Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy, at Dynasty Indian restaurant in Brockenhurst. This family grouping is always full of stories, fun, and catching up with current events. So it was then.

When John Keats penned his immortal line ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ he was not thinking of Spring. This morning, one could have been forgiven for thinking so. Well, at least the ‘mists’ image. As I stood peering into the film covering Lymington River, a gull winged its way into view, alighted on a circular yellow buoy, and quickly sped off again.

Reed beds

I crossed the road and leant on a rail chatting to a little family who were on their way to the quay for a crabbing expedition. I was able to tell them about the reed beds, and thatching. One little girl told me that her Mummy had a coat like my jacket. “Well, it’s red. But longer”, she added.

Cyclists

On leaving Lymington we followed a pair of cyclists up the hill towards the east. These two had the good sense to stay in single file and on our side of the road. We are accustomed to and accepting of this. Whilst I can fully understand the joy of cycling for exercise, I cannot fathom why anyone would charge around bends on our narrow lanes two abreast. This happened twice today. On the second occasion a large group was involved. Fortunately our vehicle is a Modus, not a large lorry.

Donkeys were just about visible at Tanner’s Lane. Three grazed in the field against the backdrop of a burgeoning rape crop; another pair chomped on dry seaweed on the shingle.

An angler in a boat would not have been able to see the Isle of Wight behind him; a black-headed gull floated nearer the shore.

As we drove away from the beach, a decidedly grey pony, deviating at the last minute, headed straight for us.

Fat pheasants wandered quite leisurely around this area. Why, we wondered, would one decide to cross Sowley Lane?

Ah. There’s the answer.

Bright purple aubretia lit up the ancient stone wall alongside the ruins of St Leonard’s granary, beside which

drowsed representatives of the usual group of ponies. Before the rains set in, the chestnut against the rusting fence rails would not have been able to enjoy admiring its mirrored image. What, perhaps, these photographs cannot display is the absolutely still silence conveyed by these creatures.

Only the tiny Falabella raised an eyebrow as I approached.

This afternoon a smiling sun warmed the garden from a cloudless blue sky.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes, piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and swede, and carrots and broccoli, with which I finished the Comino Nuevo.

 

We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

Plein Air Painting

A BT engineer spent most of the morning with us. He found a fault in the line up the street, a faulty hub and possibly a faulty TV Box. The good news is that this was all the provider’s equipment, so we will not have to pay £130 for the privilege. The engineer would put all this in his report. He thought we might be able to use BT on our laptops. We tried after he had left. We couldn’t. Neither could we access Players and Apps on our TV.

We just had time to collect our Antipodean dollars from the bank at Lymington before it was James Peacock’s turn to administer to our internet. He brought a new modem for the EE line, and activated Players and Apps through that. Everything is now working brilliantly.

BT Broadband clearly has to go. I now had a dilemma. I could ring BT and cancel their package, or we could drive to Tanner’s Lane and catch the sunset. There wasn’t time to do both.

No prizes for guessing that we caught the sunset over the beach;

honking swans flying across the backdrop of the Isle of Wight;

along the lane itself;

Donkeys

 donkeys employed in pruning a holly hedge;

Sunset 11

and masts of yachts in Lymington harbour.

Sunset painting

Whilst walking along the shingle at Tanner’s Lane beach I admired the plein air painting of Barry Peckham. My camera lens at deep dusk has failed to do justice to this friendly man’s accurate rendering of a painting executed in the short time available. The delicacy with which he has captured the skies, and reflections on the water is most impressive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s pork baked in mustard and brown sugar, topped with almonds and served on sautéed mushrooms and onions; boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

‘What Could Be Better?”

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Nasturtiums are the yardstick of frost. When their thick tendrils go limp and soggy and the flowers droop, we know that frost has arrived. On an overcast morning of this unseasonably oppressively warm day, I wandered out in the garden to take the measure of them.

Nasturtium 1Nasturtium 2Nasturtium 3Nasturtium 4Nasturtium 5Nasturtium 6

The flowers may look a little careworn, but they are bearing up well.

I then spent far too long fine-tuning my complaints letter to a partner of the O’Neill Patient legal firm before finally posting it by recorded delivery and e-mailing copies to our mortgage broker and to Becky. A much more pleasant task was the final bit of paperwork as an executor of my late friend Wolf’s estate.

This involved Jackie driving me to the Post Office in New Milton. We continued on to Tanner’s Lane in time for a pre-sunset look at

the shore,

where a weak sun gleamed on the water.

Gradually

the hues deepened.

While watching this, I became aware of distant exuberant voices, until one small boy rushed past me, came to a standstill,

and waited for another to join him. Perhaps you can’t run so fast in Wellies.

Off they both continued, still testing their lung capacity,

until a somewhat larger lad divided them.

Bringing up the rear was a young woman I took to be the mother of at least one of the runners. She said she often brought them down here, where they loved to run about or throw stones. They would rather do that than anything else. “What could be better?” she exclaimed.

As I returned to the car I admired the cloudscape over the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent steak and mushroom pie, creamy mashed potatoes, crisp cabbage and crunchy carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.

Emma Would Have Been Under Water

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When I was awaiting my hip replacement in 2009, my GP offered the opinion that I would never have a blood pressure problem. I wonder what she would have thought about my performance on the telephone today, much of which was again spent in frustrating negotiations about the mortgage. We were just about to set off with two full orange bags of clippings for the dump, when I learned that I had to make yet another call before we could be under way. I made the call. We then arrived at the dump just after it had closed.

A trip to the forest was in order.

Tree turning to autumn 1Tree turning to autumn 2Tree turning to autumn 3Tree turning to autumn 4

Only a few specimen trees were beginning to change into their autumn robes. The others still retained their summer garb.

Cloudscape 1Cloudscape 2Cloudscape 3Cloudscape 4Cloudscape 5Cloudscape 6

Smoky indigo clouds swirled over the moors,

Cloudscape 7

the sun only periodically piercing their cover,

Ponies 1Pony

and lighting up the ponies,

CowCattle

cattle,

Donkey and cattle

Donkeys on road

and donkeys wandering about East Boldre,

Donkeys with apples

where a woman had stopped her car and unloaded boxes of apples for their delectation.

High tide with boatHigh tideMan watching sunset

Tanner’s Lane beach was awash with the highest tide we had ever seen there. As we contemplated this we reflected that, had this been today, Emma might have been under water.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef and mushroom pie; sautéed potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts; and broccoli al dente. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank an excellent Finca Flichman reserve malbec 2015, given to me by Helen and Bill for my birthday.

 

 

Pumpkin Head

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Today I was mostly engaged in boring administration; correspondence in writing and in e-mail; filing; form-filling; and posting.

Hailstones 1Hailstones 2

Rapid rooftop rattling hailed a brief interlude with my camera, as ricocheting crystals created springboards of chairs, tables, paving, and anything else less receptive than soggy soil.

Early this afternoon we drove out to the Turfcutter’s Arms at East Boldre for a pre-dinner drink. In this we were to be disappointed, but every cloud has a silver lining.

Skies over Hordle Lane

Beginning with the building near the corner of Hordle Lane, we engaged in an exploration of September skies. The blue, white, and indigo palette was to change over the next hour.

Skies over Lymington River

The skyscape over Lymington River introduced an ochre tinge,

Skyscape at Tanner's Lane

retained at Tanner’s Lane where the Isle of Wight stood out in clear relief,

Ferries leaving Isle of Wight

as did ferries en route to Lymington.

Bournemouth from Tanner's Lane

Looking east, Southampton, with its Spinnaker tower was beautifully lit.

Skyscape 1

Indigo was the dominant hue to the west;

Tanner's Lane shoreTanner's Lane shore, Isle of Wight, clouds

in between the shoreline led through the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

Cloudscape 2Cloudscape 3Cloudscape 4Cloudscape 5Cloudscape 6Cloudscape 7

On across the moors towards East Boldre the hues continued to shift with the swirling clouds.

Turfcutter's Arms 1Turfcutter's Arms 2

We soon reach our goal.

Log Fire at Turfcutter's Arms

We had forgotten it was Saturday. When you are retired there is no such thing as a weekend. It was initially clear that the pub was extremely popular, packed out, and with no available seating. Almost immediately, nothing was clear except the glowing pumpkin head in the fireplace. The electricity was down. Although it soon rose again, we decided to call it a day and return home.

Cloudscape 8Cloudscape 9

It was not yet sunset when we approached Hatchet Pond,

Coots on Hatchet Pond

where a pair of, as far as I could make out. coots paddled across the reflected skies.

Cloudscape 10Cloudscape 11Cloudscape 12

Sunset was not far off.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev, Jackie’s moist ratatouille, crisp roast potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Madiran.

 

Watching The Swans

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This morning I scanned the next dozen of my Streets of London colour slides, but had no time to write them up before Elizabeth arrived for lunch and the rest of the day. As I wrote yesterday, there is always tomorrow.

After lunch, the three of us went for a drive in the forest.

Jackie with bag in wind

At Tanner’s Lane beach Jackie fought with her bag threatening to fly away in a stiff breeze;

Elizabeth at Tanner's Lane

while Elizabeth took a stroll in the direction of a passing ferry boat.

Mooring rope and buoy

I wandered down to the shoreline where a broken mooring and two stray buoys suggested that the boat normally attached may have blown away in the recent storm.

Cows and calvesCows and calf 1

On the usual grass verge at Sowley, cattle and their calves lay chewing the cud.

Flies on calf

These stoic animals have only their enviable eyelashes to protect them from irritating flies. Although the cattle roam free, the ear tags indicate ownership.

We stopped for tea, coffee, and cake at The Old Bakehouse Tea Rooms in Beaulieu.

Swans and cygnets

Beside the lake a pair of swans and their cygnets provided entertainment for

Swans, cygnets, observer, and pheasant

a gentleman reclining on a fencepost while a pheasant looked on. Uma’s comment below reminded me that this is the same man who crossed the shallows to feed the parents in January – https://derrickjknight.com/2017/01/21/an-act-of-love/

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s exquisite lamb jalfrezi, chicken tandoori, savoury rice topped with almonds, all preceded by meat samosas. The ladies drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.